Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle Max Starks will have his hands full with Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali on Monday night. The last time that the two squared off was Week 12 of last season in Kansas City and Hali certainly got the best of Starks in that game.
Even though Hali didn\’t register a sack, he did record 5 pressures on the night and Starks was flagged twice in the game with one coming via a hold and another coming on a false start. It was easily the worst game of the season for Starks, who will now look to get retribution. Starks and Hali are are not strangers to one another as the two also faced each other in Week 11 of the 2009 season, Starks got the best of that battle.
I went back and watched game the meeting between the two early this morning and it seemed like Starks was playing on one leg in that game. It looked like the left was bothering him. Starks still has a certain hop to him when he shuffles left to the edge even today, but it seemed more defined in that game to me.
Looking back at the injury report heading into that game, Starks was not listed, so it is unknown if indeed he had some soreness in that left knee or foot, but I though that was worth noting just the same.
Hali has 5 sacks so far this season and has been one of the few bright spots for the Chiefs this year. What should help Starks out this time around with Hali is the fact that Ben Roethlisberger does not extend plays as much this season in the new offense.
Starks has allowed just 3 sacks so far through eight games and has played above the line in three of the last five. Although he was not perfect in pass protection last Sunday against the New York Giants, it should have served as a good warm-up for Hali. It should be a fun battle to watch.